Joanna Gaines Reveals Her Secret Trick for Keeping a Clean House

Considering that she’s one of the busiest people in Texas and she lives on a farm, it might be surprising to learn Joanna Gaines keeps an immaculate home.

Or maybe it’s not that surprising at all.

Over the few short years that the Gaines family skyrocketed to popularity, they made it all look easy: raising four kids, running a farm, filming a TV show, managing a thriving construction and real estate company, building a retail empire, and preparing for baby No. 5. But just because the Gaineses have achieved success, it doesn’t mean they’ve started outsourcing cleaning duties. In fact, Joanna Gaines has admitted that she actually enjoys cleaning.

Even if you’re not scrubbing toilets for fun, you can benefit from some of Joanna Gaines’ best tips for keeping your house clean. Read on to find out how she does what she does and still stays sane.

1. Get in the mindset

She gets herself ready to work in the same way every time. | Magnolia Market

When it comes time to clean, it’s important to focus on the task at hand, so you don’t get distracted by other things going on in your house. Choose whatever rituals make the most sense for you, and then stick with them.

Gaines has a few key things she always does before she starts cleaning. According to her blog: “To ‘get in the zone’ I put on my cleaning apron, light a candle, turn on a good playlist and set out all the cleaning supplies I’ll need for the day. This prepares me for the work to come and makes my job easier knowing everything I need is in one spot.”

Next: It all comes down to this logical step.

2. Schedule enough time

Joanna Gaines kitchen reorganization

You can’t do it all in 15 minutes. | Joanna Gaines via Instagram Stories

Don’t expect to tackle a week’s worth of messes in 15 minutes.

If you plan to do a deep clean, be sure to devote an entire weekend to get it done. For less intense weekly cleaning, a few hours might be enough. The important thing is you need to be realistic about how much you can accomplish in the allotted time slot.

Next: This extra step is weirdly satisfying.

3. Make a checklist

Joana gaines checklist

She likes checking things off her list. | Magnolia Market

Even if you know exactly what needs to get done in your head, there’s something about seeing it written down — and about checking off tasks as you go — that helps keep you focused.

Gaines admits that she loves the satisfaction of checking things off a list. And she says it motivates her to finish every single item. You can download and print her personal cleaning checklist here.

Next: It’s almost impossible to clean if you don’t do this.

4. Take time to declutter

Joanna Gaines cleaning

Decluttering is essential. | Joanna Gaines via Instagram Stories

Basic cleaning tasks, such as washing windows, clearing counters, and vacuuming floors, are a million times harder when you have clutter everywhere.

So Gaines has some specific advice for decluttering before you clean. “Before you even start the cleaning, get five trash bags and start filling them with items your family has outgrown or no longer needs,” she says. “If you don’t love it, toss it. Trash anything that is broken and serves no purpose and donate items to local shelters and you’ll feel much better before you even start.”

Next: This is a fun way to get other household members to help.

5. Turn it into a game

Joanna Gaines family photo

The couple manages to turn it into a game for their kids. | Joanna Gaines via Facebook

Don’t think you have to declutter and clean all by yourself. The best trick the Gaineses use for clearing out cluttered spaces in a hurry is turning it into a game.

According to PureWow, Chip and Joanna Gaines equip their four kids with three trash bags each and then set a timer for 20 minutes. The kids have to run around gathering up toys, clothes, books and other random stuff they no longer need anymore. Then, those items get donated to other families who need them.

Next: Never skip this step.

6. Reward yourself

It can motivate you to get stuff done. | Joanna Gaines via Instagram

When you finish all your cleaning, reward your hard work! This is important for your happiness, and it also serves as a great motivator for getting it done.

Gaines says she personally enjoys treating herself to a chocolate cupcake, lounging in a hammock, and reading a book post-cleaning. Cater the reward to your personal taste.

Next: Don’t forget this important truth.

7. Be realistic

Joanna Gaines flowers vases

Things don’t have to be perfect, but always remember no goat in the house. | Joanna Gaines via Facebook

Whether you have five kids or not, it’s not easy to keep your house perfectly clean all the time. Gaines recommends having realistic expectations. She told Today that her most important rule is: “No goats in the house.” That’s a good one.

She goes on to say that messes are expected with kids. But she tries to clean them up as she finds them, so nothing is ever out of control. It helps that Gaines calls cleaning “therapeutic.”

Sometimes just a change in mindset — such as choosing to see cleaning as a kind of mental therapy rather than a chore — is all it takes to make cleaning easier. And those chocolate cupcakes don’t hurt either!

Read more: Joanna Gaines Has This Brilliant Tip for Handling Sentimental Clutter

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